I'm Doing the National Novel Writing Month Challenge

Posted on Posted in Challenges, Creative Writing, Fiction, Novels, Writing

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It’s November! Oh, my! Of course, I’m excited for Turkey Day at the end of the month, but I’m more excited for November because it’s National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a NaNoWriMo!

National Novel Writing Month is held every November and it consists of a novel writing challenge. The challenge is to start writing a novel on November 1st, and by November 30th, have completed a 50,000-word novel. It’s crazy, I know! But exhilarating and exciting, at least for a writer like me who has never participated.

A little more about NaNoWriMo: It’s a community. People from all over the world participate in it. They have a cool map on the site that shows how many novelists have signed up in different areas, cities, and countries. Writers work on their novel at home, however they wish — through Microsoft Word, handwritten, or by typewriter — and share their daily word count progress online. Writers involved in the month can chat through forums or share their progress through social media. Bloggers and writers lend their support to those who take up the challenge, such as this year’s writer, Diana Gabaldon who wrote the Outlander series (it’s on TV now too!).

I really have my friend and fellow writer Amy to thank for this. I always forget about NaNoWriMo, but thankfully she called me on Friday, October 30th.

So I’ve been working on a novel for about four years now and it’s done, but I need to finish editing. One of the goals of this month is to finish the edits and start sending it out to literary agents. I might even be able to finish the edits this weekend, fingers crossed!

As for the new novel that I will work to complete this month, I actually have a novel that I have already started. I’ve already written 2,848 words, so only 47,152 words to go! That’s only 1,571 words per day! To put it in more perspective, I wrote this last novel that I’m editing right now in a little less than a year and a half. A month should be no problem…

It really shouldn’t though. The whole point of the challenge isn’t to have a perfect novel written by the end of the month; the point is to have 50,000 words that will undergo multiple, multiple, MULTIPLE edits in the future because writing the novel is usually (always) the hardest part. And why should I have to wait another 1.5 years to have another novel to edit? I shouldn’t!

If you think I’m crazy to do this challenge, then you’ll be happy to know that there are a ton of other crazy people that have become super successful from NaNoWriMo! Water for Elephants (it was a novel before it became a movie) by Sara Gruen was written for the National Novel Writing Month Challenge, as was Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. About 250 books have been published by publishing companies thanks to this challenge. I want to be number 251.

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It’s not like I can’t do this. Jack Kerouc wrote On The Road in less than a month. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was writtenΒ two and a half days!

So, yep, I got a lot on my plate this month, but I’ve never been more excited and it’s been awhile since I felt excited about writing. The last time i felt this excited to write was exactly a year and a half ago when I was still in graduate school working on my creative writing degree. I may work as a writer every day, but I don’t write fiction as much as I want and I hate that, because fiction and novel writing is my passion. That’s the only job that I want and hope to have one day. So, even though I haven’t written a blog in a few weeks, don’t expect to see one this November, unless something major happens that I must share with you.

I have to put my focus and concentration into my new novel. Will I work on it in the mornings or evenings? Or both? Or stop during the middle of the day, maybe after lunch? How quickly will I make it to 50,000 words and will I keep going or be done? Notice how I don’t say, will I make it to 50,000? Why doubt oneself when this is just a fun challenge that will have me writing more than I might have without it?

No worries, I will keep you all up to date with my progress on Facebook and Twitter. Social media is so great. It’s like a combination of a looming teacher telling you to finish your homework and rows and rows of bleachers filled with fans rooting you on to the game-winning shot.

Ah, I left out one detail. You’re probably wondering about the novel I’ll be writing. What will it be about? Well, I’ll leave you with this. It involves motorcycles, a biker gang in the drug trade, a cross country adventure, a bad-ass mixed race lawyer that’s the main character, sketchy characters, fights, death, and of course, rock & roll, baby.

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